KUCHING: The European Union’s (EU) argument that planting oil palm destroys forests is misleading and driven by economic reasons, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.
According to him, the EU’s argument is not motivated at all by the desire to protect the environment, but rather aimed at promoting soybean oil.
“The EU’s argument is not an environmental issue. Its economic argument! It is an economic rivalry between palm oil-producing countries and soybean nations,” he said yesterday via WhatsApp, when commenting on the EU’s ban on Malaysian palm oil.
He also said Malaysia and Indonesia – the world’s largest palm oil producers – must not fall for the argument presented by the EU.
“We may belong to Third World countries, but we know of First World trading needs. You (EU) can’t fool us anymore.
“The EU’s environmental argument against palm oil is misleading. The most destruction to the world’s forests is done by the production of soybean oil,” he added.
Masing went on to state that for every one acre of forest cleared for palm oil, 10 acres must be cleared to produce the same volume of soybean oil.
“Moreover, once an area is felled for oil palm plantation, it will not be cleared for the next 20 years.
“The cultivation of soybean, on the other hand, requires a yearly periodic clearing, meaning it is more destructive to the environment.”
Recently, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned that Malaysia would retaliate if the EU continued with its ban on the country’s palm oil.
One of the retaliatory measures, he said, would see Malaysia ditching European fighter jets in favour of China-made ones.